The notorious troll website Kiwifarms has recently gone offline from its original web address. Earlier on Saturday, the large IT security company Cloudflare had publicly distanced itself from Kiwifarms. In the past, the controversial site was also able to protect itself from attacks with the help of measures taken by the US company and thus stay online. Now, a notice from Cloudflare on the Kiwifarms page states: “Due to an imminent threat to human life, the content on this site is suspended.”
For years, the members of the forum have targeted trans people, women and queer people, among others, in order to make their lives difficult with elaborate stalking actions. Several suicides have been linked to harassment campaigns by Kiwifarms, and family members have also been targeted after a suicide.
Known for perfidious troll campaigns
On The platform, which was accessed millions of times a month, repeatedly shared details from the private lives of victims of the community. According to various media reports, Kiwifarms was the starting point for both hacker attacks and so-called swatting. This is a tactic popular with trolls, where they anonymously make a fake emergency call, for example, about an alleged bomb attack. The aim of it all is for armed police officers to storm the homes of their victims.
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The Canadian twitch streamer Clara Sorrenti was herself a victim of such a swatting attack . Since then, she has campaigned with a campaign called “DropKiwifarms” to ensure that important Internet companies such as Cloudflare no longer support the platform as customers.
According to media reports, Sorrenti was even away from their home due to threats from Kiwifarms members fled abroad. However, it didn’t take long for the trolls to locate them – and put their whereabouts back online.
On Monday, Sorrenti wrote on her website: »The campaign is over. We won.«
Short-term move to Russia
After Kiwifarms was shut down, several trans people spoke up on social networks and reported attacks against themselves. Some wrote that they were previously afraid to speak publicly about the hate speech. They feared that this would fuel the trolls even more.
A mother reported about a campaign by Kiwifarms members against her family
Cloudflare boss speaks of “dangerous decision”
Matthew Prince, the head of Cloudflare, spoke in a blog post about an »extraordinary« and »dangerous« decision by his company, with which one does not feel comfortable. However, the targeted threats to kiwi farms in the 48 Hours before the decision, it escalated to the point that it was assumed to be an unprecedented emergency, Prince said . So far, nothing like this has been observed with any other customer.
Cloudflare Headquarters: “Work expeditiously with law enforcement”
Photo: Eric Risberg / AP
In the past, Cloudflare included the site known for right-wing extremist and right-wing terrorist content 8chan to its customers, but here too there was a break in the end. According to the company, there are ongoing investigations into contributions to kiwifruit farms. Unfortunately, these are progressing more slowly than the escalation of the danger, according to Cloudflare. “We need a mechanism that enables infrastructure operators to work quickly with the judicial authorities in life-threatening emergencies,” said company boss Prince. In this way, one could ensure that the decisions made by the company are based on due process.
Cloudflare offers its cyber attack protection services to numerous large companies and customers worldwide, it is regarded as one of the leading companies in this field. As an important provider in a sensitive area of Internet infrastructure, Cloudflare has an influence on which controversial sites can stay online and which cannot. On this subject, Matthew Prince emphasized in his blog post that his firm intends to continue to follow normal legal processes in less urgent cases.